Report: Niger mission resulting in deaths of four US soldiers ‘lacked proper approval’

The mission in Niger that resulted in the deaths of four American and several Nigerian soldiers “lacked proper approval,” according to U.S. officials familiar with the military’s investigation into the October ambush.

According to the Associated Press, the military’s analysis of the deadly incident dispels the belief that the soldiers had initially set out to meet with area officials but were soon after instructed to provide search assistance to another unit with the end goal of capturing Doundou Chefou, a high-level militant.

It appears that the hunt for Chefou was the sole task undertaken, versus meeting with local leaders first and one that was not fully communicated to those in higher command positions.

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US soldiers killed in Niger ambush
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US soldiers killed in Niger ambush
A combination photo of U.S. Army Special Forces Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson (L to R), U.S. Special Forces Sgt. Bryan Black, U.S. Special Forces Sgt. Dustin Wright and U.S. Special Forces Sgt. La David Johnson killed in Niger, West Africa on October 4, 2017, in these handout photos released October 18, 2017. Courtesy U.S. Army Special Operations Command/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright of Lyons, Georgia, at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, U.S. on October 5, 2017. Courtesy Aaron J. Jenne/U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
U.S. Army Sergeant La David Johnson, who was among four special forces soldiers killed in Niger, West Africa on October 4, 2017, poses in a handout photo released October 18, 2017. Courtesy U.S. Army Special Operations Command/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

Staff Sergeant Dustin Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia

(Photo via U.S. Army)

Staff Sergeant Jeremiah Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio

(Photo via U.S. Army)

Staff Sergeant Bryan Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington

(Photo via U.S. Army)
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The Week notes that “the U.S. and Nigerian forces were ambushed by ISIS fighters after they stopped in Tongo Tongo for water and supplies.”

They were outnumbered, insufficiently equipped, and without ample cover. 

Notably, ISIS recently released a propaganda video showing the deadly ambush. 

Al Jazeera reports that it “includes graphic footage taken by a soldier wearing a helmet camera. It shows the chaos of the attack, including the soldier wearing the camera being shot dead, with fighters stalking past his body.”

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